Thursday, August 7, 2014

Summer Reading Memories of ICCA authors

Summer reading serves an important academic role. Kids who read in the summer maintain or increase their reading achievement when they return to school in the fall. They expand their vocabulary, background knowledge, and understanding of text structure. In the best of situations they also form positive memories of the act of reading which support literacy learning at school.

In their book Memory At Work In The Classroom Bailey and Pransky describe our autobiographical memory as "the information we remember about our personal lives, including specific remembered is a synthesis of our experiences and includes our likes, dislikes, and preferences. It profoundly informs our sense of self: it is our identity."  
Inviting our students to share their memories of summer reading and learning help to form their identity as someone who reads.

Adding to the previous set of summer reading memories here is another batch from authors of Iowa Children's Choice Award nominated books.  Perhaps these autobiographical pieces could be the spark for a quick write session to gather student's summer reading memories.  Posting these vignettes around the library would be a great back-to-school display. Speaking of displays - Amy Kay, literacy teacher at Creek, is organizing a school-wide reading display. To kick things off teachers send in a photo of themselves reading in their favorite summer spot with a book they would like to promote in the new school year (wish I had thought of this idea!). My contribution to the effort is pictured here and I will share the completed display soon. Did you read some of the nominated titles this summer?  Share your memories and reactions on twitter using the hashtag #iakidpicks

"I grew up in Cincinnati, OHio.  It is very hot and humid in summer, and we did not have air conditioning. I remember trying to find the coolest possible spot to read.  There was a ginko tree next to an abandoned school building that was perfect for climbing, and this is where I spent hours with a book.  I had a special perch that was very comfortable because three branches were close together, forming a perfect seat.  I went there alone very early in the morning and read The Secret Garden.  Sometimes as it got later, neighbors would join me, and each person brought a book.  Sometimes when we finished books, we traded them with each other so I had a chance to read comic books and mysteries that I might not have selected on my own.  It was fun when two or three of us read the same book so we could talk about our favorite parts.  Climbing trees and reading books were my favorite summertime activities."  ~Andrea Chang

"I spent my whole summers reading when I was in school. I always took a pile of books with me to camp. When I was old enough to have a job, I took a book with me on the long, blistering hot subway ride from Brooklyn into Manhattan and back. Books were the only way I could make it bearable. Books filled a whole wall of my bedroom. The first thing I ever bought with my own money was a book: John Myers Myers The Alamo."  ~ Eric A. Kimmel

"I have an impressive scar on my knee from my summer reading adventures!  Picture a skinny kid riding two miles on a bike with a cloth book bag filled full in one hand, and steering with the other hand. It was a real balancing act, and one day I must have chosen one Laura Ingalls Wilder, or Beverly Cleary, or Roald Dahl book too many, and down I crashed.  That scrape didn’t stop me from returning the next day to the air-conditioned, hushed, full-of-wonder Waterloo library.  We were a big, hustle and bustle family of readers, and a library card was essential all year long, but especially those long summer months.  Summer reading could give a kid ideas, too.  Reading “My Side of the Mountain” kept me scouring the woods looking for a tree that was big enough to live in, just like Sam.  Reading “Henry and the Paper Route” inspired me to get a summer paper route, and the “Scouts in Action” feature in Boys’ Life Magazine (a favorite!) made me on the watch for anyone in need of rescue. 

I remember feeling giddy, grateful, and also a little powerful entering our public library, and those feelings have remained, just like the scar on my knee!" ~ Maribeth Boelts

"I spent my childhood summers on a small island in the middle of Lake Michigan.  We didn’t have a television, home computers and video games hadn’t been invented yet so we had to make our own fun.  One day when I was around ten years old, my father brought home a giant black rubber inner tube he’d picked up somewhere.  My sister and I took turns curling up inside it and rolling down a sand dune.  It was dizzying fun!  We  floated around the lake in it for hours of course, and bounced on it like a trampoline, but one afternoon when it was too cold and windy for swimming, and my sister was busy with a friend I found a new use for the inner tube.  I plucked a paperback mystery off the shelf – I’ve always been a mystery lover - rolled the inner tube down to the beach, plopped it down in the sand and climbed in. What a perfect beach chair it made!  The sun shone on the black rubber, warming it up, and as the waves lapped at the shoreline and the gulls wheeled overhead, I read that book cover to cover. It was pure bliss." ~ Sarah Weeks

Posted by Ernie Cox  /@erniec